tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 13, 2014 10:00pm-12:01am EST
>> congressman, it's a fundamental question you ask, and i'll answer it this way. first let me just make a brief comment about my assessment about isil. i make that assessment, and by the way it's not only mine, but when you look at the brutality, the slaughter, the indiscriminate brutality and slaughter of what isil is doing and has been doing, killing, slaughtering, murdering women and children, sunni, shia, kurd, minorities of any kind, me completely indiscriminately. and t sophistication of that when you add it up represents a pretty clear and different threat. how does that relate to your question about syria?
i think it's also clear that assad, because of how he has governed, has brought this astounding instability on himself, on his people, on his country. and it has allowed groups like isil, al qaeda is still there, other terrorist organizations, to be strengthened for obvious reasons. but just alone dealing with assad, where we are now, maybe two years ago, three years ago, that's not going to put isil back in the box or the feet -- beginning with degrading or defeating isil. assad's part of the equation, of course. but when you look at what isil dominates now, the swath of control they have, eastern
syria, much of north and western iraq, you can change assad today, and that's not going to change all the dynamics quickly, certainly, and in syria. but who are you going to replace assad with and what kind of an army would take on isil? so, yes, assad is part of it, yes, it is the longer-term part of this, defto find a stable government, leader ys syria to be able to bring some stability to that country is part of it. but isil is right now, and isil is threatening the country of iraq and the government of iraq. and so that's why we are dealing with that component first, because we must. they're threat to our allies. they are a threat to us. >> thank you. mr. larson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary hagel, you have my
first two minutes, and general dempsey, you get the next two. so for secretary hagel, there's been no discussion yet of the oco request for '15, which is $5.6 billion. wondering not what's in it. we have some information on t t that. but what do you know about a current 2014 oco request through the end of the c sflshgs what's in that and why do you need additional $5.6 billion in '15 give than there's authority for you at least through the cr for 2014 money? >> well, the quick answer to your question as to why do we need additional, as i have noted in my testimony, part of that new additional money, the $5 billion for defense, is for a new train and equip program in iraq. when we had the budget hearings
when the original oco submissions were made months and months ago, that wasn't the case. so it is a new and sustaining, and sustaining effort. the other -- the other dollars are for the continuation, which we didn't have six mos ago either, of our efforts in syria and iraq, air strikes, trying to assist, train, and equip will be in $1.6 billion, but the continued assistance and other assistance that we're giving iraq. so it is separate, it is new, it is different, and particularly the sustainability of us being able to do that and carry it out. and we thought, too, it was the most honest way to do it -- set up a fund, let everybody know the accounting and how we're doing it and why. so that's essentially the bottom line of why we presented the way we did. >> all right. two minutes. good job. >> thanks.
>> general dempsey, somewhat related, the defense has requested a broad waiver of existing laws in this request for the iraq train and equip pip understand there's a similar request for the syria train and equip. why du the department need such a waiver, and what would the impacts be if you didn't get waifrs and you, for example, had to follow existing acquisition laws in order to implement? >> yeah. the issue is pace, i think, is probably the short answer to your question, congressman. we think that a national security waiver in the hands of the secretary of defense allows us to move with the pace we believe we need to move in an environment that -- where -- you know, it's interesting. one of the realities of this campaign is kind of the conflict between progress and patience. you know what i mean? and so i've mentioned that strategic patience is actually a virtue in this kind of conflict.
i think progress purchases patience. and in that context the waiver would allow us to move at a pace that would allow us to produce that kind of progress that would as a result result in patience. >> that's fine. thank you both for giving me some food for thought. i appreciate you coming in. yield back. >> thank you. mr. jones. >> thank you. mr. secretary, it's kind of ironic, the last time that i heard before today a secretary of defense talk about military involvement in iraq was secretary donald rumsfeld that got sex abuse a war that was unnecessary. i know isil is evil flp's no question about it. they need to be taken out. but i look to some of your statements from 2002 when you were a senator and how you felt about the obligation of a member of congress to make a decision to send a young man or woman to die. i also looked at your statements
in wave 2007 when, like myself, came out against the surge in iraq. now we are possibly going to be asked by the president of the united states, like we were by george bush, to authorize an aumf. this is not but but an abdication of our constitutional responsibility to give any president an aumf. we tried this past year in june when we had the ndaa bill, adam schiff tried to sunset out the aumf that we gave to president bush, which has been used by president obama. and i do not understand how we in congress can continue to abdicate what the constitution says is our responsibility. before i get to a brief question, james madison once said, the power to declare war,
including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature. and i do not believe sincerely, because when -- this happens to be president obama -- he wants to have another aumf, an extension of what we have, i hope that the congress, both parties will look seriously at what is our responsibility, because it's not going to be but so long you have sent more and more troops to iraq to train, many of these are former saddam hussein loyalists, and now they're fighting with isil and then some are still now fighting with the other side. it's very complex. i understand that. and i agree with that. but for goodness' sakes, why in the world should we make such a commitment? and we don't even have an end point to it. i would like for you or general dempsey -- i have great respect for both of you, to submit for the record two thins very
quickly. how does this new war end in your opinion? and i realize it's just your opinion, but it's very important because of who you are. what is the end state of what we're trying to accomplish? the american people -- over 50% of the american people do not want our personnel in syria or in iraq. and i will be honest with you. i don't know how we can convince the american people that a nation that's financially broke -- you sat right here, general dempsey, and you're exactly right, sequestration and all the budget problems coming your way and yet ow ear asking for $5 billion or $6 billion more to drop in iraq and syria? where is it coming from? please explain to the american people and to this congress how this war is going to end someday, whether we are advisers or we're fighting. and i hope to god we are not fighting and i hope we do not give the president a new aumf.
so if you'll get those into the committee for written form, then you won't have to answer the questions. but this, again, it looks like we're going down the same road that secretary donald rumsfeld told us we had to do, we had to do, and yet we had no end point to that as well. so, thank you very much. >> congressman jones, if i might just respond very briefly, you very accurately described my position when i was in the united states senate. but it's basic, as you have noted, to the responsibilities of congress. and an aumf comes out of congress. the authority of military force for a president, that authority comes from the congress of the united states. and i, too, hope that congress will engage in this. and i have great confidence that congress will.
they need to. they must. it is a responsibility of the congress. so i'm right with you on that point, and i'll give you my best thoughts on your other question as well. thank you. >> thank you. ms. bordallo. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for holing this important hearing. secretary hagel and general dempsey, thank you for your time today. as i have stated before, i believe that isil could become a direct threat to the united states or our allies in europe, and we must make efforts to avoid that threat. while i believe that we must keep all our options open, it must be a joint effort with our coalition and allies to stop isil. second taur hay hagel, what additional u.s. or ally support do you believe lit take for the iraqis, the kurds, or the syrian
rebels to hold their current position and eventually advance to retake areas now controlled by isil? >> congresswoman, as i noted in my statement, that's a very important part of what we are doing to assist the iraqi security forces as they strengthen their capacity, capabilities. that's obviously a big part of the train and equip effort as our coalition partners are with us on this. h, as well as a reinstitution of the iraqi security forces at the top with confidence, with trust of the men and women in uniform and a unity government that they, in fact, believe is worth fighting for. as general dempsey said, they have some confidence in not just for themselves but their
families. and so as i have noted, it is a comprehensive strategy. it, i believe, can be done, but this is an iraqi fight. it is their future. and we can help, we are helping, we're doing everything we can. and we'll continue to support them as we will with our coalition parter ins. but that's the way i would just very briefly respond to the question. >> thank you. general demp cease, in testimony before the senate back in october, you mentioned that oco is not the solution to funding. and i have stated before that i agree that the oco credit card is going to come to an end sometime very soon. however, as the ranking member on readiness, i'm deeply concerned about the impact of the loss of oco on readiness. when will you have a better sense of what this is going to
cost both monetarily and in manpower to continue operations against isil? what is the department doing to plan and budget for this and other activities into the base budget? >> thanks, congresswoman. i did say that. in fact, i think i went on to say that oco, or the overseas contingency operations fund, was gas money and that the service chiefs also needed to base the support, the recruiting, training, organizing, equipping of the force over time. you can't sustain the force with oco. you can use it. that's why i described it as gas money. to your question, we actually have a pretty good idea of what it's costing right now, and given that we think our level of commit suspect about what it will be for the foreseeable future, it's approximately $8 million a day. and the funding request that the
secretary mentioned accounts for that. we're well aware of the desire to rely less on oco and more on base. that's a debate, you know, from a military perspective, i can just tell you whey need and you all have to decide how to provide what i need. but the base budget is an important component of readiness because it's the foundation on which we build. >> thank you very much. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. mr. secretary, we understand you recently had to postpone yore trip to vietnam and burma to prepare for this hearing and others on capitol hill. and i know our allies and partners in the region are concerned with senior administration officials postponing important troovl the region, and i share their concern. but i hope they can understand that our government does have the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time. while we are focused in this hearing on the isil challenge, we remain as committed as ever to america's enduring interest
in the indo pacific area. and i appreciate your attendance on this important topic and the contributions you've made to the hearing, but i also hope you'll reschedule your trip and continue your strong record of engainment in asia, and thank you for being here. the last time you were here we asked a question about a strategy to cut off the finances for isil, and i think you were kind enough to acknowledge then that we needed to develop that. and i was just wondering if you could outline for us a little bit about the strategy that we have now in trying to cut off the finances of isil. >> congressman, thank you for your thoughts on the asia-pacific emphasis and rebalance. as you've accurately noted, i unfortunately had to make a decision and i didn't want to have to do that for the reasons you mentioned. as you probably know, since i've
been secretary of defense, i have had six major trips to the asia-pacific. this would have been my seventh. i will reschedule. we are plan ong that rescheduling. i talked to all of our asian partners, pacific partners, explained to them why i was having to reschedule. and i get the emphasis. i agree with you completely. but at the same time, to your point about the administration being able to walk and chew gum at the same time, as you know, the president is there now and will be in that area for a few more days in different countries. we'll have other flup visits as well. but i am rescheduling. it is important. there's no less emphasis on the importance of the rebalance. on your question about financing on isil, i alluded to a couple
things in my statement. when i talked about cutting off their more obvious oil sales as they have sh as you know, taken control of some of the oil fields in eastern syria, and they did have some in western iraq we've been able to take back some of that that the iraqis have in most oil, the baji oil refinery and so on. that is one thing we're doing and pretty effective. been able to not only disrupt that but stop that oil flow out of there that gets into the borders. and they were getting a few million dollars a day from that. now, other things. our treasury department has taken the lead on this with partners all over the world, the united nations, european partners, middle eastern partners. we're trying to shut those money
markets off any way funding and resourcing isil has, continues to have. we have made a global effort that we lead. as you know, they also get funds from contributions inside. we try to that through your intelligence communities. so, this is as much of a focus as it was when i was here two mos ago. has to be for the reasons they mentioned. and as i also said in our comprehensive strategy, cutting off those funds is a very big part of what we're doing and what we're attempting to do and will continue to do. >> thank you, mr. secretary. my time has expired. the gentleman from connecticut, mr. courtney, is recognized for four minutes. >> thank you, mr. forbes. earlier secretary hagel, some of your predecessors were cited as sort of some grounds or authority for the notion of boots on the ground, larger presence of boots on the ground
in iraq and i spoe in syria. i want to just for the record again remind people that secretary gates in his farewell address to west point stated i think correctly that any secretary of defense who advises the president to engage in a ground invasion in the middle east ought to have their head examined. and i think the approach you've described here, which is to strengthen local force, to provide assistance as we've seen unfold in kobankobani, is reall right approach to adhere to secretary gates' good advice, i think, which is that, you know, we are not going down that path again. as someone who voted for the title 10,000, i want to share with you a mother of a new london marine in connecticut came up to me and said i'm with you to this extent, but, you know, i'm counting on you not to, again, open the door to just a redux visit of what this country went through over the last eight years or so.
so i just wanted to share that input with you. your request for additional resources obviously is in the middle of a lame duck where it's not clear where we're going yet in terms of whether it's going to be an omnibus with an additional amount as you've requested. there's been talk that the majority is actually at least discussing the notion of a continuing resolution into the next congress. and i was just wondering if you could share your thoughts about what a cr would mean in terms of being able to, again, implement the operations that congress authorized. >> well, recognizing the purview of the congress on appropriations, i will answer your question this way because you've asked me for my thinking on it. i'll begin with what chairman dempsey said. any enterprise must have the
flexibility and essentially the authority to plan as best we can every business, every nonprofit, and to take away that critical management tool for the pentagon where we cannot plan based on a continuing resolution every few months, maybe this will happen, maybe this will happen, or maybe it won't happen, is really disastrous, and it does damage to our institution. it does damage to the confidence of our men and women that we ask to go out and serve. it does huge damage to our future investments. you know, people don't recognize sometimes that our defense enterprise has to be thinking years and years down the road. the platforms that we have today, the sophistication of our technology and our platforms, far superior to anything since world war ii or anybody else's,
this just didn't happen. it didn't happen a year ago, two years ago, three years ago. these planning stages and investments and having some certainty that you've got a budget and you know what you're going to have in that bunl set critical to plan. so continuing resolutions are not good for the department of defense. >> in terms of the specific operations that we're discussing today, i mean, again, is that just sort of again make it difficult for you to figure out what, you know, extent of operations you can conduct? >> well, you factor that in. that's exactly right. and when you take away -- those are hugely important master sergeant tools, but we're talking about our national security here. we're not talking about putting out a new product or a new colored shoe or overcoat for an automobile. we're talking about the national security of our country. so as much ability, flexibility that we have to have some
certainty as to what's ahead, also to retain a force that these young men and women and, smart, they've got other options. and these young ep listed and officers think about what it's ahead. am i financing? are we going to continue to draw down? what's the future? i understand it's an uncertain world, unpredictable world. we all do. but you can't run institutions, especially the department of defense, responsibly on continuing resolutions. >> the gentleman's time has, pyred. the gentleman from south carolina, mr. wilson, recognized for four minutes p. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. secretary-general, general, thanks for being here today. the american people are counting on you to provide information, counsel to our president, and you've indicated secretary, national defense is your priority. and i'm just so concerned that the president has an odd world
view. it's inconceivable to me the release of trained mass murdere murderers, these detainees from guantanamo builds good will anywhere, but it puts the american people at risk, puts our military at risk. i have a personal interest. two of my sons served in iraq. they developed a great appreciation of the people of iraq who do want to live in a democratic society, not a totalitarian or authoritarian. additionally, i've got four sons now serving in the military, and i believe in peace through strength. i'm counting on you, and so are my constituents, the american people. in this regard, mr. secretary, the islamic state, does it still pose an eminent threat to the people of the united states, and is it an imminent threat to our allies? >> well, i thank you, congressman, and thank your sons again. i'm very well aware of their
service and what your family has done for our country and continues to do. as i said in my statement, and i think in some of the comments i've made here this morning, it is a threat. it continues to be a threat, a significant threat to the united states, to our interests, to our allies. and we've seen every dimension of that play out. so, yes. >> and such a threat, with the capabilities, say the seizure of an extraordinary city, mosul, that enhances the threat, doesn't it? >> it does. and we're very honest about that. as i said in my statements, i think that there is good progress being made by the iraqi security forces, peshmerga -- just to give you one example, over the weekend, you may be aware of this, there was a ceremony in anbar province. about 2,000 sunni tribesmen were
there and are preparing to be worn in to the iraqi security forces. this is in the province, the general area of mosul and the areas that will have to be taken back. the isis -- isf forces have taken much of that back, not mosul yet. they will. but the mosul dam, the dams i mention in the my comments, baji oil field, a lot of good news there. but, yes, of course. anytime they hold significant identifiable cities or pieces of geography, it makes it more difficult. >> and we should remember that, indeed, osama bin laden operate from a cave, a safe haven, in the middle of afghanistan and was able to conduct mass murder in this country and around the
world. and in regard to achieving a stable self-reliant iraq, can this be done with the personnel that you've sent, or what do you anticipate? >> well, first, we, the united states, cannot assure a stable iraq. the iraqi people will have to do that. as i have said, we are supporting them. we are doing the things that we think are most important, the thins they've asked us for, they've requested from us. and that's a significant difference from recent years. they've invited us in. they've invited us with our coalition partners in to help. but i believe prime minister abadi and others understand that. it's imperfect, but they have to do it. we'll help them do it, but they have to do it. >> thank you. >> the chair recognizes miss
tsongas from massachusetts for four minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you both for being here. i, like my colleague, remain greatly concerned with recent developments in both iraq and syria. but given the long-term consequences of u.s. operations in the region, i think we have to be sure that the administration's overarching strategy and objectives are fully discussed and robustly debated here in congress. this is especially important given the lessons of the last decade, when, despite seven years of conflict in iraq, 4,500 american lives lost, and more than $1.5 trillion spent, our military effort did not resolve the sectarian conflict we are now continue fronted with. given these harsh lessons and because a full debate has not occurred, i have voted against the short-term authorization to train and equip the moderate syrian forces. before we move forward, we need to be clear on what we are asking and will ask of our brave
servicemen and women, what the kopss might be, how we are going to pay for any operations against isil, what the exit strategy is, what we are asking of our regional partners, their willingness and capability to meaningfully engage in this effort, and what our ultimate goal might be. but it seems to me the horse is ever more out of the barn. while i have appreciated the president's current commitment to not send u.s. ground troops into combat, i am troubled by the recent tasking of an additional 1,500 troops to iraq and president obama's statement that he has not ruled out deploying more troops. general dempsey, i appreciate your candor. i think you are very forthcoming when you describe a complex multifaceted, long-term effort that requires strategic patience in a situation that will continue to evolve. and you have said in the past and are clear about today saying
that there are situations in which you could consider recommending ground troops. you also just described the very important role of the iraqi security forces and the deep investment that we're making in bringing their capability back to par so that they can take on this task. but what if they are not up to the task? could you talk about some scenarios you might envision? as you've said, you only make recommendations. i'd like you to talk, if you could, about some of the recommendations you might make if it becomes clear that the iraqi security forces cannot take this on. >> yeah, what i'd like to do, congresswoman, is give you kind of an unclassified answer but promise you that in a classified session next week we can talk about contingency planning. so if -- i mentioned earlier, if some of the assumptions we've made are rendered invalid, of course we'll have to to have a
branch as we call it in military terms to our campaign plan. look, we absolutely need a credible partner to provide ground forces in that region so that we don't have to provide the ground combat power to accomplish the task. if the government of iraq fails to reach the kind of national unity agenda that we think they need, which would empower and encourage the iraqi security forces, then we veal to look for other partners this the region to assist us or build other partners in the region. again, i would defer to a classified setting. anything more than that -- i will say that since we -- i think we agree that this is a long-term commitment, you mentioned end state, the end state is defined as the -- ultimately the desite of isil. i've actually said, including in my opening statement, that will
occur when the 20 million disenfranchised sunnis that live between damascus and baghdad reject that ideology. and we see some indication, just, again, a glimmer of indication that that's beginning. isil has to continue to advance to succeed. it has to maintain momentum. and we've begun to break that momentum. and then i think we'll have a clearer picture in answer to your question. one last point. this campaign will be marked or characterized -- i've described it this way -- three steps forward, two steps back, and at every step forward or back we'll debate about the size of the step. i look forward to your classified briefing. >> gentlelady's time is expired. mr. turner from ohio. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary hagel, i want to personally thank you for your support for a provision that's in the national defense,000 act that protects the custody rights of our servicemen and women. as you know, the house on a
bipartisan basis has in the past six years taken action to provide a national standard to protect men and women in uniforms, custody rights. i appreciate your letter of october 30th where you both affirm the d.o.d. support for that division but also go further in to say that this legislation does not affect other state custody laws and precludes federal court jurisdiction. thank you for the time you spent with me and for your thoughtfulness in this matter. general dempsey, you said that you have never been limited in your recommendations to the president. we are also aware that he's never been limited in hi ability to reject them. our inquiry to you is not whether or not you have been forth coming in your recommendations but in the gap that might exist between your recommendations and the president's proposal that's before us. we all have concerns about how effective the air strikes have been as they've both been intermittent and dispersed.
also the issue, as loretta sanchez has raised, as to how having the diversity of populations participate in being able to take iraq shgt how the kurdish and other forces might be able to be armed, and your assurances that that will be able to be accomplished working with the iraqi regime. so our question to you is, in evaluating our support for the president's proposal, we'd like to know what is missing in your recommendations versus what we're receiving from the president? >> before i actually answer the question, you've describe the air campaign as -- i think you described it as erratic or episodic -- >> intermittent. >> intermittent. i knew there was a word. >> i would never say erratic. >> thanks for the opportunity. but the word i want to add is precise. and, you know, look, the thing that will caw the sunni population to actually take
heart and begin to reject isil is if we're very careful not to create circumstances of civilian casualties or to in some way impact on other groups, tribes, for example. so we've got to be very, very deliberate and very precise in our air campaign. and i think we're accomplishing that. in just over 800 strikes to date, i think we've been both successful and careful. to your point about whether there's a gap, i can say to you today there is no gap. both general austin and i have made recommendations and though recommendations have been accepted. any recommendation is made with a risk assessment. you know, there's high-risk options, moderate risk options and low-risk options. a low-risk option to the campaign would probably include the introduction of u.s. ground forces to take control of the fight. neither general austin nor i, and certainly the secretary of
defense, believe that's the right thing do at this point. so there is no gap right now. >> you know we will continue obviously to write oversight and inquiry, and that we hope you will share with this committee to the extent that gap evolves because we're very concerned about the success of what the president has defined and we look to your leadership. thank you. >> gentleman from iowa, mr. l mr. lipsack, is recognized for four minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks to both of you for being here. i was writing down lots of questions while you were talking because i think probably my constituents' concerns about what we're doing there and a number of questions that they have, this doesn't even begin to get at whey've been hearing over the course of the past several months in my district in i washg at least. and i may be repeating some things. i had to step out for about a half an hour, so i apologize if i am. but if you could first explain in at least some detail what is
the isis threat regionally or otherwi otherwise? can you lay that out? what is the threat? >> well, the threat -- you started i think with regionally or otherwise -- is the extent of the brutality and the inhumanity of what they have been doing, what they continue to do as they have expanded their base up until most recently until we, the united states, and her coalition partners, got into this about three months ago. they are a threat to the iraqi government. as was noted here in an earlier question about they still control the second largest city in iraq, mosul.
as they -- if they would be allowed to continue, they would not only as they already have to a great extent inflame a sectarian war and continue to gather momentum with their ideolo ideology, which brings in their successes and momentum foreign fighters who hold passports from the united states, from european nations, that starts to extend the threat to not just the region and to iraq and countries there, but to europe, to the united states, and i could continue but i think you get the picture. >> thank you. we've now heard the word counterinsurgency in this debate, i don't think, because that was obviously our approach to iraq and afghanistan earlier
on, and then, correct me if i'm wrong, but it seems as though we've kind of then transformed whatever military operations we've been doing in those regions of counterterrorism, perhaps. where would this fall, what you're trying to do, where would this fall if there is a continuum between counterterrorism and counterinsurgency? because, in fact, if isis or isil is creatinge ing ing a sta they're actually creating government, and if they're consolidating their control, might counterinsurgency be really the way to go as far as responding to them? >> well, i think -- >> not advocating that. just asking from an analytical standpoint. >> i think our strategy -- and it's a good question -- is pretty clear on this point, because you have really i think hit the centerpiece. our strategy is counter-isil. and if you were here for my testimony, i walked through a number of those points, and
general dempsey has further refined them, as to how we are countering isil. what are we doing about that. and one of the points i noted, it's a comprehensive strategy, it has to be. many of the questions here this morning have gotten into that, one being the funding, cutting off their funding, coalition partners, all the partners of the region involved, strengthening the iraqi security forces, doing everything we can to support a new iraqi unity government that reaches out to everybody -- the sunni, is sheeia, the kurds, all the minorities -- giving everyone some participatory power in their government, which elicits the confidence and trust in their government. so that's our strategy. now, we can frame it up by however way you want, but it's counter-isil is a strategy that's focused on this particular issue, this particular threat, and the world
is dynamic and changes. and we're not going back to what worked 12, 10 years ago. we learn from mistakes, learn from things at work. this is a unique threat. >> gentleman's time is expired. >> may i, chairman -- i can do this in 30 seconds. >> okay. >> clearly we are alert to any threats that could emanate from iraq and syria with planning and operational activities that could threaten the homeland. and you've seen us take some actions here of late that clearly align with a counterter terror strategy. i would suggest to you that iraq is actually conducting a counterinsurgency and we're enabling wit our airpower and planning and resistance. they do have an insurgency on their hand, and it actually allows them to think about not just the military component so, as they clear an area, whether it's up to baji or out to al asad, they've got to follow
it up with governance, economic development, humanitarian sance. otherwise that insurgency will persist. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> gentleman from mr. minnesota, mr. klein is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen. just following up on the discussion in the last minute or, two i think it's important for all of us in this committee, all of us in america for that matter and certainly you, gentlemen, to keep the focus on what the policy is. the policy is to defeat isis, our enemy. whatever we do with iraq is a tool in achieving that policy. it's not -- our ultimate goal here isn't to protect iraq and build a stable iraq, we just need that tool to effect our policy of defeating isis. and sometimes i think we forget. we start talking about how many wars we're in or what are we doing, can the iraqis defend their own country and so forth, all useful discussion, but the
policy is to defeat isis. general dempsey, are americans flying helicopters now in iraq? >> yes. >> thank you. in a classified session, i'd like to get some more information about what that force looks like. but it remind me that we may have forces in compounds doing various intelligence and logistics and so forth, we actually have americans out and about in harm's way, and that makes me think that i hope -- and, again, probably a discussion for another day -- that we have good american medical support for those soon to be 3,000 or so forces there, we don't want americans in harm's way being reliant on in this case iraqi medical support. so again probably a discussion for another day. and then my question, general dempsey, is you said in an earlier answer to a question, as
you were talking about turning over to iraqi security forces some responsibility to do some fighting, that if they can't do it, we would, quote, hold them accountable. i can't understand what that means, hold them accountable. what would -- how old would we such a thing, hold them accountable? >> i actually think, congressman, maybe there's two answers that have been -- that are pulled together into one to create that confusion. whey said was that among the tenets of our strategy is that as we assist the isf and the peshmerga that the government of iraq has to be held account for progress that matches the military progress. >> but what does that mean? >> well, what that means is if they do not form and actually manifest this national unity agenda, then frankly it will be
among -- i will be among those that recommend that we do not support them to the degree we're supporting it, because that's got -- there has to be some conditionality to our support, it seems to me. >> well, clearly, i agree with you. i'm just not sure that we know yet what that whole accountable means. we don't give them any more money -- i don't know what that means. but i do think that's important that we all, and certainly the two of you, think about -- and the president and so forth, what does that mean, hold them accountable? again, keeping in mind what our policy is and what your job is, is to defeat isis. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. garamendi, for four minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general dempsey, thank you very much for your service, and secretary, the same. we appreciate all that you're attempting to do. my question, general dempsey,
are we at war in iraq and syria? >> we are at war against isil, yes, sir. >> since that is the case, would you, secretary, please provide in writing the most recent legal authority for the united states to conduct such a war? we know that previously there was talk of the war powers act, but apparently that is no longer the case since 90 days has passed and we're still at war. perhaps there's the iraq or the afghanistan authorization to use military force. but i'd like to have the most recent legal justification, if you would, please, for the record. also, we heard the chairman in his opening remarks say that any
authorization to use military force that is not unlimited is dead on arrival. since the chairman is not here, perhaps his staff could tell the chairman that at least this member of this committee would love the see his proposed authorization to use military force as broad as he might like do. bottom line here, this is more for us than for you two gentlemen, is the obligation that we have under the constitution to declare war. now, there may be some legal justification in the past that could be stretched for this war. i don't think so. so we have an obligation here, and we should be about that. we ought not wait till the next congress. you have said, the president has said to conduct the war successfully we all need to be supporting it. we're not at the moment. now, my questions to you two
gentlemen have to go with two issues that have not yet been discussed. you've mentioned the coalition, but you have not specifically mentioned turkey or iran. would you please do so? what are they doing? what is their role now and what do you see it in the future? mef the coalition. s as you know historically iran and iraq have had a cultural religious economic ties, that doesn'tas you know historically and iraq have had a cultural religious economic ties, that doesn'tas you know historically and iraq have had a cultural religious economic ties, that doesn't stop, hasn't stopped. we're not coordinating with the government of iran. we're not working with the government of iran. >> is the government of iran involved in any of the military activities in iraq? >> they're not involved in anything that the united states or the coalition is involved in. >> that's not my question. are they involved in any military activities in iraq -- >> as far as i know, the iranian
army is not engaged in iraq. there may be other components, shia militia, those kinds of groups that have been there, that have over the years we've dealt with over the years, but as far as an official iranian government military presence in iraq, i'm not aware of any. >> now turkey. >> turkey, as i noted in my comments, has agreed to be one of the training sites for the train and equip of the syrian moderate opposition. they as you know worked with us opening up the air space to get in supplies into kobani for the peshmerga to resupply their forces. they continue to work with us on other areas of common interest, but are important to our efforts
there, and of course to their own border. they, as you know, are hosting 1.5 million refugees coming out of syria. so, you know, they are part of the coalition, an active part, and we continue to work with them in the military. >> the gentleman's time has expired. mr. conaway is recognized for four minutes. >> i'd like to yield my time to dr. hecht, chairman of the subcommittee. >> he's recognized for four minutes. >> i thank you to the gentleman for yielding. mr. secretary, general, thanks for being here today. mr. secretary i appreciated your general comments regard gitmo detainees. this committee has gotten into an investigation. it appreciates the department's cooperation in this important matter. in addition to previous requests the committee recently sent two letters to you requesting additional material and support,
just ask if the committee would continue to have your commitment for the department's cooperation with the items noted in these letters and with other aspects of the committee's ongoing work. >> yes, of course, and we'll continue to cooperate as we have been. >> and secretary, i'm curious as to whether or not you're being kept up-to-date with regarding the qatarie government's compliance with the terms of the memorandum of understanding for the prisoner exchange and if so, who in the department specifically is responsible for keeping you updated and are you satisfied with the terms of the mou being met? >> yes. every two weeks, i receive a report. we have a special envoy. in the department we work with along with the general counsel's office. i talk with the general counsel every two weeks about this, steve preston. i am continual lay shourd that
the qatari government is fulfilling its commitments it made to us and exercising the operations that they said that they would, in order to maintain security of these five individuals but yes, every two weeks.in order to maintain secuf these five individuals but yes, every two weeks.they would, in n security of these five individuals but yes, every two weeks.in order to maintain secuf these five individuals but yes, every two weeks.they would, in n security of these five individuals but yes, every two weeks. sometimes more often than not. >> i've read reports about visitors that the detainees received and whether or not they're having access to communication systems that are out side of what is permitted through the mou. any concerns from us in regards to that type of activity? >> i, within the limits of an open hearing here, i am aware of those reports and nothing that i have seen so far concerns me more than what we're doing now, and it's within the boundaries of the assurances that we received and the agreement that we have from the qatari government. >> thank you, and i appreciate
the department's continued support as the subcommittee continues its investigation. >> and we will. >> thank you. i yield back, mr. chair. >> the gentleman yields back. the gentlelady from california is recognized for four minutes >> mr. chairman, thank you. thank you, secretary hagel, general dempsey, for your leadership. the chair early on spoke about guantanamo detainees joining the fight with isil. he's repeated that on a number of occasions. is there any evidence that detainees from guantanamo have joined the fight with isil? >> not that i'm aware of. >> general dempsey? >> the secretary in his comment referred to approximately of the 89 or so released that 90% of them we have clear evidence
there has been no recidivism. the other 10% are largely unaccounted for. isil, of course, is a recent manifest indication within about the last nine months but if i could, we'll take that one for the record. >> all right, thank you. you know, sometimes i feel like we're in a time warp. as we've been sitting here talking about isil, cnn's been reporting that there's a change in strategy by the administration, and it is now going to potentially refocus its efforts on toppling assad. so while we're focused here on isil, it appears that yet another strategy is being undertaken by the administration. can either of you respond to that, please? >> well, i believe the administration has addressed that last night, and again this morning, as well as the state department, as well as the defense department. no, there is no change in the
strategy. again, the national security council has addressed it. the state department has. we have. so -- >> let me ask -- >> that's all i can tell you. there is no change, and there's no different direction. >> let me ask you this question then. our presumption has been that we would train syria, free syrian army, and that they would, as trainees, then fight isil. there have been many reports that suggest that they're not willing to fight isil, they want to first topple the assad regime. so what confidence do we have that, by training them, they're going to be fighting isil and not assad? >> well, that's the essence of the training and the purpose of the training, and this is also part of the vetting process, a clear understanding of what they would be doing, but let me get to a more basic point.
one of the points that i made in my statement as to why moderate syrian opposition would be part of this training effort and i noted that their homes and their families are in jeopardy from isil, from the brutality and the slaughter and the murder of isil. that is their first issue. yes, they want to see assad go, yes, there's no question. yes, there are other forces and interests, yes. but the most absolute, immediate threat to most of these people is isil and what isil is doing to their villages and to their families and their homes. so it's clearly in their own interests but this is also part of the vetting process. >> i only have 19 seconds so maybe you can provide this answer in writing. i continue to be concerned about
how we shut off isil's revenue stream and i want to know what we're doing to try and shut down their revenues by closing down the oil refineries that they appear to have taken control of. i'll yield back. >> i'll do that in the interests of time. >> thank you. the chair recognizes the chairman of the readiness subcommittee the gentleman from virginia mr. whitman for four minutes. >> thank you for joining us today and thanks so much for your service. each of our service branches i think has a significant challenge in front of them. today they're the haves and the have nots, those units that are trained, those units that are not current in training. i think a significant challenge for them, it affects not only today's mission but future missions, is what our capability might be, each of our service branch chiefs had talked about this concept of tiered readiness and what that means for their force, the risk it places on the
force, thousand affects morale and retention and today my question to you is, how do we address that current situation, and then how do we integrate into that the challenges that we are now facing in syria, in iraq, with isil, and accomplishing that mission in addition to missions around the world that we want to continue to try to be successful. it seems like to me that we're a mile wide and an inch deep. i want to get your perspective on that, too, and how do we get to a point where we are returning to full spectrum training in making sure that we have a continued full compliment of readiness across our force structure? >> let me take a shot at this, congressman, very profound question, meaning intricate, but i will say this. you're correct that we are generally consuming readiness as soon as it's built. if we had this hearing six months ago we wouldn't talk
about the necessity of reassuring our allies, we wouldn't be talking about isil, we wouldn't be talking about ebola, all of which have pressurized our readiness. that's why we exist. you know, to one of the earlier questions, you know, when will this all end, personally i believe that the current state of security affairs is about what it will be for about the next generation. stated another way, peace is probably not the norm as you look back at history and it's certainly not the norm today. so the military has to respond to whether it's a security threat or a threat of infectious disease. it's why i mentioned in my opening remarks that we really need budget certainty, flexibility and time, and i will say to your question, i thisnk e will need additional funding to account for new requirements. i nementioned three of them tha
were new just over the last six months. i also think we need to gain your support for some of the reforms we've recommended, pay compensation, health care, weapons systems, brac, because that will allow us to be more predictable and sustainable over time. and i think we've absolutely got to get rid of this horrible shadow of sequestration, because it places such both a physical but also a psychological shadow over the defense budget that it has very bad long-term effects. >> thank you. gentlemen, let me ask this question. specifically today as we speak, if sequester comes back in 2015 and we have the reduction inoco funding projected to go to $60 billion to $30 billion, give me a one-sentence assessment on where you believe our military
will be. >> we will be less ready than at any time in my 40-year career. >> secretary hagel? >> i haven't had a 40-year career in the military, but i would completely agree with the chairman and i have been on the record on this point. it will put the military and our national security enterprise in a very, very deep hole. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> the chair now recognizes miss davis from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you both for your leadership, secretary hagel, and chairman dempsey. i wanted to ask about the level of expertise that would give us confidence in the troops that we're training right now in
order to pull out of our activity, and i no he that we're not talking about boots on the ground here, but in an advisory capacity, because i think americans are well aware of the fact that in order for us to do our job, we need highly trained professionals, like our s.e.a.l.s, like our special operations and i'd like to know whether we're in any position to see that level of expertise that really hair-trigger preparedness that's required of s.e.a.l.s and of those who go into special operations like that, i would have to believe that the possibility of something occurring that would require that kind of professionalism is something that we must be planning for, and how do we respond to people that are wondering if they're having that level of expertise, which wouldn't require only consulting
but clearly boots on the ground, and again, whether or not there are those who would be on the ground who could order air strikes effectively in order to make that happen. >> well, congresswoman, i can absolutely assure you i would never come to the secretary of defense and suggest that he send anyone into any mission unless they are, in our judgment, the joint chiefs, the best trained, the best led, the best equipped force on the planet, and so there's no shortage of skills and expertise. whether it's in the conventional forces or the special operation forces. and by the way -- >> i'm talking about our iraqi partners or the syrians as well. >> well, what, of course, there's always a gap between our level of expertise and theirs, that we tried to close to the extent we can. i guess maybe the only thing i'll suggest to you, it's conventional, it's special
operating forces, it's air, sea and ground, and you know, we kind of gloss over, not you, but we tend to focus on what are we doing on the ground but we've been flying for eight weeks now a very, an extraordinary air campaign and those young men and women are executing that, frankly, exceeding expectations, in my view. so i'm not sure how to address your question about the expertise issue. if you could elaborate a bit more, i'll give it a shot. >> yes, thank you. is there a metric, do we need to have a certain level of expertise and a quantity of those who are trained. >> on their part? >> on their part. >> yes, absolutely. >> that we know that our team will not be required to go in -- >> yes. >> -- that kind of an operation. >> and i'll give you this briefly. so there's, the iraqi security forces have an organization called the cts, counterterrorism service. they're absolutely capable. in fact, if anything, they've
been overused because they are the best of the iraqi security forces. so what we're trying to do with them is reconstitute them. they're also very well-led by the way, which means that they have both capability and leadership. on the other side of it, we believe we need three divisions, three capable divisions. the division is roughly nine brigades, which is to say we're going to need about 80,000 competentent iraqi security forces to recapture the territory loss and eventually mosul to restore order. that's why we're setting up the training centers in the locations the secretary mentioned. >> so we didn't necessarily see a lack of response on their part in the latest looking at the iraqi forces -- >> when we did our assessment? >> the assessment and in terms of what happened.
>> what happened when they collapsed? >> yes. >> two divisions and a few more brigades collapsed in northern iraq, they collapsed because of corrupt leadership. there was a period of time just a couple years ago when a man could purchase his command of an iraqi division. that was a terrible outcome, as we saw for iraq in general. anyway, they collapsed because of poor leadership, no confidence in the central government, and a kind of mythology that it built up around isil that it was unstoppable. isil has now been stopped. some of the forces that have abandoned their posts have been reintegrated into the military, which is a very positive sign i think, and the assessment that we've been making suggests that we can recover from the shortcomings they exhibited. but that's all part of this campaign. >> okay. thank you. both of you. >> the chair now recognizes mr. hunter from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for being
here. i guess the first question i have, i'm going to lead with a quote from you, secretary hagel. "i disagreed with president obama, his decision to surge in afghanistan as i did with president bush on the surge in iraq. it wasn't a matter if we could win at the moment. of course no force in the world can stand with the sophisticated power of the american military, nobody can stay on the field with you but that's not the issue. that never was the question. the question is then what happens next, where is this going, what is the end game?" so where is this going? what is next, and what is the end game? the iranians are training more iraqis than we are. they're getting more influence in iraq right now. you have no plan for syria. you don't know what you're going to do with assad. you don't really want to take him out because you don't know who's going to take his place and both of you right now work for an administration that had iraq finished, completed, and handed to it on a silver
platter. you talk about the long view, general, the long view would have been we wouldn't be here right now if we had stayed in iraq in the first place and we're talking about this like we prnt the weren't there for ten years and this administration didn't give it up. i don't get it. i am completely confounded and frankly, i'm, i guess i would question the administration's credibility on this, and their ability to even do anything, based on the fact that you didn't see this coming. you didn't react quick enough. you got in way late in the game, and we literally wouldn't be where we are right now if the administration had made the right decisions in the first place. do we even have a status of forces agreement now iraq? do we have a status of forces agreement now iraq? >> well, we have a diplomatic note. >> we don't seen have a status forces agreement now which is the reason we left in the first place because we lacked that? >> we have privileges and
immuneities that we believe satisfied our requirements to protect our troops. congressman, i'll respond to some of your points. one -- >> secretary, let me give you one last one of your quotes if i could, too. "the plan to revive the iraq war by sending a surge of 30,000 troops is the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since vietnam, if it's carried out, i will resist it." you were an adamantly against and consistently against the iraq war as a senator. and now you're the basically the second highest ranking military officer in a civilian capacity, in the country, in charge now of leading our forces in a strategy in iraq again. i'm really confounded on how the american people are looking at our team right now, at your team
and saying how do we do this. you're now in charge of what we lost because of decisions made outright and forthright by the administration. >> well, let me see if i can pull some of this apart. my past record and statements stand and that was a situation that is different from today. i can't go back and replay 2011 or '12 or why did the united states leave or not leave. we'll let history decide that. >> but we didn't leave because we're there now, right? >> well we never left. we have the largest diplomatic compound in the world, our embassy there is the largest in the world so we never left, but regardless, we are where we are. my responsibility today is not 2007, 2002 or 2003.
i have a new responsibility, new set of threats and challenges, new sets of challenges and dynamics and that's what i'm dealing with. i said earlier this morning, sustainability. we have 150,000 troops in iraq. yes, we are the most powerful military in the world, but we're trying to build and help the iraqi build, not us, them, it's their country, their interests. >> i was there. >> sustainable -- i know, and we appreciate your service, a sustainable government force where they can protect themselves, they can support themselves, they can do all the things a sovereign government must do. >> right. >> my role is the threat that isil poses against the government of iraq, against us, and against our allies. that's my threat responsibility today. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> if i could, mr. chair -- >> the chair recognizes miss
gabbard for four minutes. >> thank you, gentlemen, for being here. as both of you walked through your testimony i couldn't help but think that it does sound very familiar to other tmz we've heard in the past about training and arming iraqi security forces, of training and arming a local security force now called the national guard and overall, i'm wondering how we can be walking down this same path that we walked down over the last decade or more and hope for a different outcome. you've outlined your intentions to train and arm 12 iraqi security forces brigades to include arming them with hellfire missmissiles. how much kurdish peshmerga brigades will be training and will you be arming them directly and not funneling those weapons through the central iraqi government as we've seen very recently has been very resistant
to passing on any of those weapons or arms, ammunition that we have provided through that central government. >> well, you'll take a couple of questions, specific questions you ask. one, i noted the 12 brigades that we'll be training. you asked how many of those are peshmerga, three of those 12 brigades are peshmerga brigades. you asked about the request that the persshmerga has made for armaments of materiel. that is all being funneled through the iraqi government, and -- >> are they, how can you be assured that they're getting any of that? because publicly their ministers of defense and others are saying they're not receiving those arms. >> they are being given the armaments, all of the requests
are ongoing, so just as i said in my statement, all the requests from the iraqi security forces aren't there yet, as i said in my statement, a good deal of this is still coming. you just don't produce large inventories of armaments in weeks or in a month. all of that is being worked through the iraqi security force through the iraqi government, and i also noted, by the way, in my statement, congresswoman, there were very specific amounts, significant amounts of armaments given directly to the peshmerga from coalition partners over the last few months. >> so up until this date as well as with the funding requests that you will have before congress, none of those arms will be provided directly to the kurds and the peshmerga from the u.s. government? >> the kurds request will be worked through the iraqi
government. >> has the iraqi government stated publicly that they will provide those arms to the kurds? >> that's an iraqi government issue. i can't -- >> because they have stated publicly that they will not in the past. >> it's clear that the iraqi security forces want a strong and viable and armed and trained peshmerga. it's in the interests of the country of iran. so whether the peshmerga is given every item on that list and by the way, i've seen some of the lists, they're pretty spectacular lists. >> well, understandably but they're also the trusted fighting force on the ground that has been most effective against fighting isis and with very limited resources. i guess my last question, we're running out of time here, is to what confidence, how can we have the confidence that this iraqi
security force at this early stage of this government will not end up with the same outcome of deserted, units deserts and leaving weapons in the hands of is isis? >> again, i think we've covered some of these questions before this morning, but i'll say first there's no guarantee of anything, but we believe what we are doing now to help rebuild the iraqi security forces as the body government is changing their leadership, so it will instill, we believe, a new level of trust and confidence and support in sunni forces, and the sunni tribes. i noted in an example over the weekend of 2,000 sunni tribesmen in a ceremony this weekend, preparing to go into the iraqi security forces, being sworn in. all those different things we are doing now, we believe can
lead to the kind of strong iraqi security forces that will be required to take back their country, but also that must reside within an inclusive unity strong participatory government in iraq. >> the gentlelady's time expired. the chair recognizes mr. franks for four minutes. >> well, thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, let me begin by saying that i think you have very accurately described isis. i think that your description there is well-considered and very accurate and i appreciate it. you've kind of told it like it was. i remember that george bush said almost verbatim, "if we leave iraq before commanders say that we are ready, we will be risking the future of iraq. we will see mass killings on a horrific scale and we will be increasing the chances of
american troops having to return and face an even more dangerous enemy." i have to say to you, mr. secretary, in all due respect to you, i think that this president owes mr. bush, mr. hunter, and thousands like him an apology for standing by as isis entered iraq and essentially made this bush prediction come almost precisely true, and the concern i have, of course, is that i'm afraid that it's the same ideology or the same approach is being borne out on other fronts. as dangerous as isis is, as again, you so accurately described, the greater danger is if some of the core elements of that insidious ideology, which is in some of the leadership of iran right now, gets their finger on the nuclear button, and this president seems equally oblivious to that as he has been
to isis entering iraq, and my concern is that their latest funding request includes a significant portion that would go to isf that we'll be fighting alone beside quds and eye raina s iranian shia militia. that has a of elevating iranese krenlt or increasing their credibility to some extent and hastening the day where they will gain access to nuclear weapons and this administration seems oblivious to all of that and i know that this is a contentious issue, but do you think that we are doing enough to prevent iran from gaining nuclear weapons? >> congressman, i'm going to answer that, but also let me lead into that answer by the first comments and questions you
ask about whether we're oblivious to the isis threat. >> certainly the president was. certainly he did nothing to stop them, a very small force could have prevented them from coming in, very small force could have prevented them from gaining the base of operation that they've gained. we wrote letters, we were ignored. this is over a period of months. >> let me just remind all of us that first of all, our defense national intelligence agency had earlier this year had noted the threat of isis specifically isil. we were all aware of it. we were talking to the iraqi government about it. this is the government of prime minister maliki. now, let's also remember iraq is a sovereign nation. we have to be invited in to iraq to help. we were telling prime minister maliki he had a problem. he was going to have to deal with it. we couldn't have just
arbitrarily, i suppose we could have, invaded iraq without the sovereign country and the elected government of iraq inviting us in. we were not. we were not asked to help, even though we were talking to the iraqi government. so i think it's important we just set the stage, this also is at the time you recall, congressman, iraq was at the front end of changing governments. the new government didn't take over, if you recall, until september of this year. but even then, we were invited in, in late summer, and we did get involved in it, in late summer, but we had to be invited in, and so that's first. on iran, this administration is very aware of the dangers of iran and the president has said, again, that his policy is the same as president bush's policy.
>> that's not the same as president bush's policy but continue. >> on iran it is, that iran will not, cannot have a nuclear weapon. that hasn't changed. >> in all due respect the bush policy was in keeping with the u.n. security council which was we would dismantle and make sure they didn't have the ability to enrich uranium. this administration written an agreement that allows that protocol to be a protected policy. >> that's what this administration has been doing, working with iaea. what the talks are about, as you know, congressman, which we may see something come out of, we may not, the p5 plus 1 through the united nations, the five members of the national security council of the united nations plus germany in those talks is to dismantle, is to do all the things that we want to do to move iran away from the capacity capability of building a nuclear weapon. this department has the responsibility to continue to
provide the president with all the options on the table. we have and we will. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair now recognizes mr. johnson from georgia for four minutes. >> thank you. i'm prompted to ask you, secretary hagel, to set the record straight as to what factors led the u.s. to withdraw all of its troops from iraq, because of the inability to maintain a status of forces agreement. can you remind us what major factor preaccept tated our inability to enter into an agreement with the iraqis? >> well, without going into the long history, and i think everybody recalls it, i was not in this job at the time, but the united states could not get the assurances that it required, that it always requires when we
have troops in a country, assurances to protect our troops. that is normally done through a status of forces agreement, but in the case of iraq now, we hahave immu immuneities but the fact is we were not invited to stay. and maliki said that he couldn't get through the parliament. >> that's the point that i want to make, thank you. i also would like for you to explain what interests the u.s. and iran have jointly with respect to this isil issue. what else, what are some of the things that we can, that we have joint interests about? >> isil as it is demonstrated through its indiscriminate brutality of killing all groups
and sectors of people, sunni, shia, kurds, minorities, christians, that isil is a threat to iran. it's a threat to the entire region. it's a threat, as we've said all morning, a clear threat to iraq, because it now controls large swathes of the country. of iraq. but at the same time, we, the united states, are not coordinating with iran. we are not working with iran. >> are there any areas where the u.s. and iran can cooperate with respect to this isil threat? >> well, each sovereign country in the middle east must protect its own interests as iran certainly is doing, will do, as iraq is doing, as jordan is doing, turkey is doing.
but that's an independent effort that the -- >> are there any areas where we can have joint concerns? >> well, we have joint concerns, but not joint cooperation. >> do you see joint cooperation being a possibility? >> well, that's not our policy and it may someday be possible. >> it wouldn't be a bad thing, would it? >> well, i'm all for cooperation and getting along in the world in peace but the realities of the fact that iran is a state sponsor of terror, they've continued on a path of trying to nuclearize weapons, and make those efforts, so it's hard to be mindful of that. >> it's good to be mindful that dialogue can help to create better conditions also. but let me ask you this about
mr. baghdadi. is he alive? is he injured? was he involved in the situation that occurred at the air strike that occurred last weekend? >> well, those are areas that we probably should get into in a classified hearing. >> all right, thank you, sir. >> thank you. >> we will have a classified follow-up next week. dr. fleming? >> thank you, mr. chairman. general dempsey, what is the current strength of isil? we've heard reports 30,000, i've heard reports of 50,000. can you clue us in as to what that current strength is? >> the intel community does put kind of a band around it, at one point 21,000 to 31,000. frankly, i think that includes
groups that they may have scooped up along the way, former ba baathists, for example. i suggest to you the core group of ideological isil probably about two-thirds of them are in syria, about a third of them in iraq, and in total it's probably 15,000 to 18,000. >> 15,000 to 18,000 core, but then maybe another 20,000 or so that may be cooperative with a fight alongside is i think what you're saying, 30 to -- >> i think that's where that number 31,000 comes from. the affiliates, if you will. >> now, i get your strategy in iraq, which is to go back and undo the things that went wrong in iraq. you've got better leadership. we have helping them stand up their military so they can go on
the offensive, eventually restoring the order, but i think we can assume that most of those isil members will end up in syria, if we move them out of iraq. so what about the syrian piece, the free syrian army? how long will it take and how many strong will we be at when they become an effective force? >> i think we've testified previously that the first year we think we can produce about 5,400 that we think the total required in order to put enough pressure on the isil forces in eastern and northern syria would probably need to number about 15,000. >> 15. so with woo that be an offensive force where they could actually march into syria, actually attack, take out, degrade, destroy? >> no, let me describe it this way. it will be a force large enough
to defend initially, so that it can actually hold territory heretofore is more fluid and then it should have the capability over time to become offensive. >> and at what point do we get to 15,000 and what point, talking time line, do we get to an offensive force? >> those details are actually part of what's happening at cent com this year. there's a 30-nation 190-planner contingent talking about isil both as it exists in iraq and in syria, and so the question is, where along the way will there be a critical mass enough to employ it. that's a conversation that's ongoing right now. >> will we be able to get more details tomorrow? >> sure, i don't know about tomorrow but you'll be able to get more details. >> okay, thank you, i yield back. >> mr. scott. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
gentlemen, thank you for being here. i know you've got a lot on your plate with the budgets and other things and big decisions. our national security, the different things that are going on in the world and i certainly respect you and try to be brief about this. secretary kerry was before this committee i believe the two of you were with him a couple of months ago when he was asking for the ability to move into syria, and i asked secretary kerry at that point, what were the principles of war under which the obama administration operated. he could not give them to us. he promised to get them to us within 24 hours. he has not responded nor has his staff responded in any way, when again, i asked for those principles but i quoted that point, colin powell's doctrine, is there a plausible exit strategy? do we have a clear obtainable
objective, and then i go and i look, you know, again at where colin powell expanded on that, and when a nation is engaging in war, every resource and tool should be used to achieve decisive force against the enemy, minimizing u.s. casualties and ending the conflict quickly by forcing the weaker force to capitulate. why should we approve an authorization that doesn't give you, general dempsey, and you, secretary hagel, the ability to do what it takes to win the war? >> congressman, that's a great question and you're obviously a student of warfare. the use of the military -- let me answer it this way. the use of the military in state-on-state conflicts does comport better to general powell's principles than the use of the military instrument against something like isil, and
so as we've looked at the mass, which is one of the principles of war, as we looked at mass, mass has a coherence and a quality all its own when it's applied against the mass of another force, notably a state, but when you apply mass against something like isil, you can have a particular kinetic effect against it but you can also generate antibodies in a population counterproductive to what you're trying to achieve. i'd like to unpack this in a longer conversation with you or a paper but you will tell you this, in terms of what we're doing in iraq and what we're doing in syria, i refer to command sergeant major i had as a young lieutenant colonel, and i was trying to figure out of these five or six or seven things that we really had to get done, how would i possibly prioritize? he said to me simply, his name was don stockton, he passed away
since. he said look, colonel, just make sure that you keep the main thing the main thing. and so isil is the main thing, and our priority is in iraq, and then we will figure out while disrupting in syria what to do about it in syria. >> general, i'm certainly not a student of war, but i have a tremendous amount of respect for both of you. i guess my problem with this administration, as respectfully as i know how to say it, i believe the indecisiveness at the white house has led to a lot of the problems and the challenges that we're facing today, and when we first saw isil, we knew that no good was going to come from that, and the indecisiveness is what bothers me. i don't feel like you have that indecisiveness. i feel like it is the president of the united states' indecisiveness that quite
honestly puts our men and women in uniform and our american citizens at risk because he's not willing to make the decision to turn it over to somebody who will go do what it takes to protect this country so i respect you, and i'd love to have one that just gave you the authority to do what our military leaders think it takes to protect americans. >> thank you, mr. palazzo? >> thank you, mr. chairman, general dempsey, secretary hagel for being here. happy veterans day, happy veterans to the vet rans behind you. happy birthday and there's cake downstairs if you haven't had enough. very important topic, thank you all for being here. previous hearings we discussed how isis is self-financing and how that's kind of unique compared toment some other islamic extremist organizations in syria and other place, they're self-financing through
smugg smuggling, extortion, murder, rape, these are bad people. general dempsey you mentioned some of the things that we're doing. have we been able to truly disrupt their financing source that will lead us to help in i guess break up their logistics? >> we have certainly disrupted it. there are some things that i'd be more willing to share with you in a classified setting where we have reflections of the impact of some of the things we've done against their oil revenue, for example. but again, some of that's probably best described in a classified setting. but i will tell you, the answer to your, the answer is yes. we have significantly disrupted their financial support. >> because after all, if we can the ability to buy bullets and band-aids, hopefully another way to break their will to fight. >> congressman, i just add to that a couple points we've made this morning on this, it is your point, question, observation is part of the comprehensive effort
that we're using to stop him, and it isn't just force. yes, that's a big part of it, but all the other pieces, and just as you said, you don't cut off that funding source, they'll keep coming. so it's a priority piece of the overall strategy, and we are making progress. >> earlier the status of forces agreement was brought up, and it was said that we have more of a diplomatic note and y'all said you feel like that's enough to protect our men and women in uniform from any form of prosecution in iraq, which led me to believe usually when there's military force, there's a civilian contractor force. is there currently a civilian contractor force providing services to our men and women in uniform and what kind of protections do they have? and how many do you think may be over there? >> yes, we did not, we
intentionally have approached this mission in an expeditionary way so we're not dragging in a big log cap to provide life support for our forces. we're dealing with it as a military. now that said, there is, as you know there's an office of security cooperation in iraq that deals with the fms case. it's the part that the secretary referred to the pa are the that never left iraq, where these 200 military men and women who were helping procure weapons systems and then provide them to the iraqis over time. that is supported by a contract, whether it's with a particular weapons systems dealer or in some cases trainers, and they have as part of the contract, they have protections and uhm mun i immuneities under the contract. >> secretary hagel i think this week you were quoted, actually at a veterans day speech at the
vietnam war memorial and you publicly stated "we must openly acknowledge past mistakes and learn from them because that is how with' void repeating them." i'd have to agree with you. congress i think has been honest saying the sequestration and placing those devastating defense cuts on top of our men and women in uniform was a mistake. there's a huge appetite to remove those defense caps but also i think a lot of people look at this administration and see they made some mistakes in how we've handled isil, how we've handled iraq, the 2011 withdrawal, and i hope that through your comments alone that this administration and others will be honest and not glossing over the past but looking at that time honestly so we can avoid making mistakes because our men and women in uniform their lives depend upon it so thank you. >> thank you, mr. nugent. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i really want to thank both of
you for your service to the country, belated happy veterans to you, you both deserve our congratulations and our respect. you are responsible for the lives of our servicemen and women, and i appreciate both your positions and secretary hagel, i appreciate your past comments in regards to putting our sons and daughters at risk. i have three sons that are currently serving and so that hits a point for myself and my wife. but as we move forward and two of my sons were in the drawdown in iraq in 2011. i just wonder, and i know you weren't responsible, because you pr weren't in that position as it relates to status of forces agreement but also an enduring presence in iraq. do you think as we move forward as this starts to, and you mentioned it's going to take
years but shouldn't we have a status of forces agreement? would that be preferable as we move forward that we have an enduring presence in iraq, instead of walking away like we did, and then because it is so unstable there, who knows what it looks like again after we stabilize it, would it be a good idea that we have a status of forces agreement that allows us to have an enduring presence there? >> congressman, first, thank you for your sons' contributions and service and for your family's sacrifice and service. as to your question, i think a good question, and it is something worth thinking through, but these are the kinds of things you continually think through but they evolve. what that place looks like, what the world looks like in six months i can't predict. i can do what i can do now knowing what i know now,
anticipating, general dempsey -- >> i think we've talked about strategically looking forward. that should be part of our strategic plan. >> it always is, but again, we're not intending to stay there in an indefinite way in the same capacity that we're now at the invitation of the iraqi government to come back in to help them, training and equipping and so on. that's not an indefinite mission. in our air strikes, that he's not indefinite. so we think through what we need now and what the coalition requires, and then what we're going to need as we go along and as we get wiser as we go, too. so you adjust. you have to adjust. >> and i understand, you know, not trying to -- i guess i am trying to pin you down. would you recommend to the president at some point in time, and i know things change, would it be in our best interests to have a status of forces agreement with iraq and have an
enduring presence of some type within iraq? >> well, what i recommend to the president, what general dempsey has recommended and our leades s first protection of our forces. that's it. whether you call it a status of forces agreement or whatever it is, whatever the piece of paper or document. it has to mean something. the privileges and immunity document that we have, the diplomatic note, our commanders, i feel that it's adequate to protect our forces and what we need now. now, into the future, we adjust. we have to adjust. we may want something different. we are looking at things. we will continue to look at them, but right now, what we have now is essential and it's adequate for what we require to protect our troops.
>> i was the chief staff of the army at that time. the reason that we believe the status of forces agreement was the right instrument to achieve, to seek to achieve was the scale, the size of the residual force which was going to be approximately 10,000. secondly, the nation of iraq was at a, was a stable platform. there was no ongoing conflict within this report. so we thought that requiring a status of forces agreement from a responsible government as an expression of a shared commitment was the appropriate instrument. we couldn't get it. the difference? we entered, we re-entered iraq in an extremist situation with a brand new government that actually hadn't even named all of its ministers, and so we accepted the diplomatic note as adequate to the task, because of the scale, and also because we don't have these men and women traveling all over iraq. at some point in the future, as the secretary says, when this
platform is more stable, i think -- >> i would think that, because it was important to have an enduring force back in 2011, when talks broke down, i would think that would remain the same today and maybe even be the reason to have that is what we're facing today in iraq with isil. just an observation. >> yes, maybe. >> thank you, sir, and i thank both of you. >> that concludes our questions from the members of the committee. i want to thank you, again, both for your service, for being here, and, boy, oh, boy, you just, just made it, mr. brydenstein. >> only if if it's an easy one, congressman. >> well i appreciate that, mr. chairman. i'm down to four minutes now?
okay. three minutes. well, first of all thank you guys both for being here, mr. secretary and mr. chairman. we, our country is facing a major challenge in the middle east and i am sometimes deeply troubled by the way things are going, and today we're here to talk about a $5.6 billion ask and it seems as though we're in the middle of replanning or changing our strategy, changing our tactics. there's 30 nations that are meeting to talk about the next ste steps. it seems to know we're actually in a position where we're getting ready to allocate $5.6 billion and not fully understanding ultimately what our approach is going to be. could you guys each take a few seconds and respond to that so that i can go back to my
constituents and say we're not just giving $5.6 billion but we're actually taking a serious approach at this? >> congressman, thank you. it's a pretty important and basic question, so i get it. i tried to lay at least the general parameters of that out, that question in my statement as to the general breakdown of where would it be used, why, and why we think it's important. also, you mentioned and others have this morning, what are others doing? what are the other coalition partners doing? and as you just noted, one of the reasons that general austin has over 30 of our coalition partners in florida this week is working through where their contributions are specific, money, planes, people, logistics, so on, are going to come from, and you know we have condition in our request actually the congress does this, that we can only draw down so
much of that training and equipment part, the 1.6 million, until others have put their money in. but the specifics of how all that's broken down, the time frame, we have all that. and we would, and briefings that we will start and e we generally started will continue to have with staff in explaining why we have asked for this much money, we are prepared to do that. >> i'd like to take about 30 seconds and swing at this myself. you asked what are we doing. well, we have a counter isil strategy. it's not an iraq strategy. it's not a syria strategy. it's a counter isil strategy. secondly, the strategy is built around a remarkable coalition. if you look at the countries in that coalition and if you'd told me a year ago you could draw these countries into that coalition, i'd say probably not.
so the coalition is on board. and the campaign is built around by, with and through. allies so that we don't own this problem, we enable it. >> one last question with my 41 seconds. i have a study here from the senate for strategic and budgetary assessments. they make a case that when you look at the seriousness of the campaign regarding airstrikes, they make the case that in kosovo we're doing 86 airstrikes a day, which was another campaign where there were no troops on the ground. in this campaign we're doing seven airstrikes per day. can you shed any light on what the discrepancy is there? >> sure, very different enemy. it's not a nation state. it's a terrorist organization. they have adapted their tactics
to our strengths. and so they are just not sitting around waiting to be bombed, frankly n a way that a traditional military might have to because you can't hide it. these are individuals in pickup trucks that can hide in and among the population. actually, we ought to be taking credit for this, not being criticized for it because we're being so precise and deliberate eliminating casualties in order to disrupt but not create additional problems for the coalition. >> might it be a challenge in gathering intelligence? >> well, look, if any military leader worth his salt would want more intelligence. intelligence is a challenge, but we have our assets focused like a laser beam on learning more about this enemy. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> will the audience please remain seated while the secretary and general leave in
congressman bill cassidy to approve the keystone pipeline. here is today's floor debate on the bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. shuster: i rise in support of h.r. 5682 to i off -- approve he keystone x.l. pipeline. pipelines are safe, cost effective means to transport products that fuel our economy. pipelines today supply more than 2/3 of the energy used in the united states. the keystone x.l. project will be a critical addition to this extensive network, increasing our nation's supply of oil and help regular deuce the cost of oil. h.r. 5682 closely follows h.r. 3, that this house passed last year. since the passage of h.r. 3 -- >> mr. speaker, the house is not in order. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will suspend this egentleman is correct. the house is not in order. the house will be in order. please remove your conversations from the house floor.
he house will be in order. he house will be in order. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. shuster: since the passage of h.r. 3, the chair completed its final supplemental environmental impact statement on january 31 of 2014, however, there's still been no action by the administration on the pipeline. there have been excuse, the most recent of which is pending litigation in the state of nebraska. however h.r. 5682 takes that into account and allows for rerouting in that state. there's simply no further reason to delay this important project, especially given the numerous benefits it will provide our nation this pipeline will be a boon to economic development. of particular interest to taxpayers this pipeline doesn't require one federal dollar to build. further therbling very nature of infrastructure creates jobs and
the keystone x.l. is no exception. the u.s. state department reconfirmed all of this last january. state estimated the keystone x.l. will produce 42,000 jobs and $2 billion in employee earnings. this project will have significant positive economic impact including an estimated in 61.1 billion in -- including $6.1 billion in construction contracts. the state department called this impact substantial for many counties. the keystone x.l. pipeline is the most ex-tense i havely study and vetted pipeline project in the history of this country. the project will include 95 special mitigation measures including 59 recommended to prevent spills and make this the safest pipeline ever built. i would argue that we are facing stalemate, ed
paralysis by analysis. the majority of american nose this is the right thing to do, so congress, through the bill, will lead where the president has refused this project will create jobs, improve the nation's economy, strengthen our transportation system, and help improve the nation's economic security. so i urge my colleagues to support this vital piece of legislation. with that, i yield the balance of my time. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from oregon is recognized. mr. defazio: the gentleman mentioned taxpayers. i think taxpayers may be concerned that this foreign ntity which will ship oil over 1rks700 miles across america will be exempt from a fee that all of the american companies and others using our current pipelines have to pay. because of a bizarre ruling from the i.r.s. who often makes bizarre rulings, tar sands oil
will not be required to contribute toward the oil spill liability trust fund. so i think u.s. taxpayers might be concerned that a foreign entity which is going to ship tar sands oil 1,700 miles to an export zone in all probability to be processed and exported in a tax exempt area won't be paying much if any taxes in the u.s. except some property taxes and won't have to contribute toward this trust fund in case there is a spill with this line. the u.s. taxpayers and other entities in the u.s., mostly u.s. companies, will be liable to pay for their mess. so i have a concern about taxpayers. another part of this is three citizens of the state of nebraska brought litigation because this bill would give a foreign entity the right to take their private property in the united states of america, in
nebraska, by eminent domain. i'm not aware of any other time we have given a foreign entity the right to take the property, the private property of u.s. citizens. these same citizens, won a case in district court and this bill would essentially nullify the ruling that they won which is still under appeal to the supreme court in that state. so here we have a foreign entity that won't pay taxes that other oil companies and others who ship by pipelines will be required to pay, a foreign entity that will be given the right to take the private property of u.s. taxpayers and residents and for what? yes, there will be construction jobs and jobs are good. but those are fairly ephemeral and there's a lot of other construction going on, particularly in the fracking area and with some proposed liquid natural gas export
facilities that will help provide employment in the construction trade and in this case, there will be 35 permanent jobs for this tax exempt sludge that will be shipped to a zone in texas where it's most likely to be exported. do we need to export more oil, gas, and diesel from the united states of america? is that going to help lower the price at the pump for americans? i don't think so. and in fact, we are today exporting 422,000 barrels of gasoline a day, 1.3 million barrels of diesel every day, yet truckers are still being pretty well extorted at the pump. ou know, that's 54.6 million gallons of diesel yet our going to take w, we're
this tar sand goop and process it in the u.s. and export it. it's not going to help the processors. and then there are minor environmental issues. tar sands do create 81% more greenhouse gas than most other forms of fossil fuel extraction. they are going to destroy forever, forever, large portions of forests. i'm sure that is a canadian issue. if i lived in canada, they would be protesting. i don't. we don't need to build a pipeline there. they will use precious water resources and create waste pits that will be polluted with the extract, except for the part that which is shipped